September 8, 2014
Use of probiotics and prebiotics in animal feeds has been shown to benefit digestion,animal performance and the immune system. The microbe population of the rumen must be healthy and in appropriate numbers/balance for proper digestion of feed, and health of the animal. Probiotics are products that contain living microorganisms—bacteria and/or yeasts. Prebiotics are non-digestible sugars that play a beneficial role in aiding “good” microbes and protecting against the “bad” ones.
“The most widely studied use of probiotics is how these ‘good bacteria’ play musical chairs with bad bacteria and crowd them out so they cannot cause disease in the host. A lactobacillus product that Dr. Mindy Brashears developed at Texas Tech in her many feedlot studies reduces the numbers of E. coli O157:H7 in the gut. This E. coli is not a problem for cattle, but bad when it gets into human food,” he says. If there are more “good” bacteria and fewer “bad” bacteria, this reduces risk for meat contamination with pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella.